WinSenga Update/Bulletin 20.0 – Esther Madudu: at the frontline of the fight to reduce maternal mortality

We first heard of Esther Madudu in 2011 as we started working on WinSenga. Even back then, it was inspiring. Below are excerpts that should make for some interesting read,

Excerpts from The Lacent website.

Esther Madudu has delivered babies at night by the light of a mobile phone held in her mouth, in the absence of electric light in the health centre in rural Uganda where she is a senior midwife. Sterilising equipment for reuse is a chore because everything must be boiled and that means a trip to the well for water. But Madudu, who works harder than most of us and under constant pressure, has a satisfaction in her work that few can match, because she can be certain she is saving the lives of women and their children. “My interest is seeing mothers coming back, bringing their babies for immunisation”, she says.
Madudu works in the Tiriri heath centre in Soroti district in eastern Uganda, an area over-run by rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army in the north a decade ago. The electricity cables that were cut have never been replaced. The Ugandan Government classifies the centre as a level 4, which means that surgery should be done there, but although the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) has renovated the operating theatre and provides training for health workers, including Madudu, there is no anaesthesia equipment, so the theatre is still not in use. That means women in obstructed labour who need a caesarean section must go to Soroti district hospital, 28 km away. Once that involved families scrambling to raise loans and find somebody with a vehicle, but little by little, things have been improving and now there is an ambulance, managed by the local community, although money is still an issue. “We called a general meeting with the local community members to agree that when you get a patient in any emergency, the relatives should buy fuel so that the ambulance can run”, says Madudu. Maintaining the vehicle is also a problem.
esther madudu
Madudu’s enthusiasm and commitment to the cause of saving lives was recognised this year with a REAL Award for outstanding health-care workers around the globe, sponsors of which include Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition. She has become an ambassador for AMREF and is now fronting their Stand up for African Mothers campaign. That work sometimes takes her away from the women of Soroti, but only for a while. They know what she has done for them and do not want her to move away. While they feel like that, she says, “I’m not going.”


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